Rising Stars: 'I've always loved the idea of solving challenges'

Rich McEachran

Tom Garwood (Credit: Will Amlot)
Tom Garwood (Credit: Will Amlot)

This week, we are featuring some of the best and brightest engineers aged under 35. Together, they are shaping the future of the profession, and the world.

Read part one here

Read part two here

Tom Garwood

Commercial director of Free Running Buildings, and PhD student at University of Sheffield

Age: 31. Location: Sheffield

What does Free Running Buildings do?

The company is focused on introducing technology, such as passive ventilation, into buildings to reduce energy use and emissions within the built environment. My role, in particular, involves bidding on contracts and conducting engineering analysis of building energy use.

What inspired you to get into engineering?

I’ve always loved the idea of solving challenges, and engineering allows me to do this while satisfying my practical streak. I’m also excited by the multidisciplinary nature of it, especially as the lines between the various disciplines are becoming more and more blurred. To me, this means the opportunities in an engineering career can be endless. 

Can you give us an example?

Free Running Buildings utilises a combination of thermal imaging and modelling to help optimise buildings so that they are well-ventilated naturally. Similarly, a side project I’m part of, VSTr, utilises mapping to optimise the scheduling and routeing of freight – satellite data and artificial intelligence is used to determine how busy shipping lanes are. 

Will VSTr’s software be available commercially?

We took part in the ActinSpace hackathon and got to the UK final held in June 2018. Since then, we’ve been working on the business plan, which has undergone several iterations. We’re currently developing demonstration software and conducting market research, with the hope of finding a route to market. 

What would you like to achieve in your career?

This is a really tough question. Different opportunities pop up all over the place, so I never focus on a single career goal, especially at my age. As long as there are problems to solve, I can have an impact on society, and I can continue to learn and improve my performance as an engineer. I’m happy and know I will have a fulfilling career.

Stefan Stojanovic

Senior test development engineer at Delphi Technologies

Age: 33. Location: Stonehouse, Glos

Inspired by how machines and computerised systems interact and shape the world around us, Stefan, who is also undertaking a PhD at Oxford Brookes University, has been exploring how to improve the precision of injection rate measurement used to characterise the performance of the fuel injector. Last December, he presented at the IMechE’s event on fuel systems, “Inject your diesel, fuel your technology”. He believes that any solution to a problem is never definite and can always be improved upon. With this in mind, he hopes to keep questioning solutions and coming up with better ones throughout his career.

Colin Keogh

Co-founder and chief executive of the Rapid Foundation

Age: 30. Location: Dublin

Having a dad who is an automotive mechanic, Colin has long aspired to build new things and develop new processes and concepts. In 2014, he co-founded the Rapid Foundation, a charitable project that provides access to low-cost technologies to those who otherwise might not be able utilise them, in countries such as Brazil, Rwanda and Uganda. “It’s amazing to watch someone with no technical background think up, test, and turn an idea into a real product or solution,” says Colin, whose hope for 2019 is to strengthen the foundation’s collaborations with larger organisations and bodies to help them increase their own global impact.

Gavin Kerby

Project manager at AM Defence and Marine

Age: 30. Location: Bournemouth

Gavin’s fascination with how and why things worked began at an early age – he has fond memories of receiving Meccano or K’nex every birthday. After completing his A-levels, he decided to pursue an apprenticeship to expand his technical knowledge. “The traditional university route never appealed to me. Plus many industry leaders, including Ross Brawn, started out as apprentices,” says Gavin, who has previously worked with the likes of Mercedes Petronas. As a project manager, the biggest challenge he faces is managing third parties. “Very small changes outside of my control can cause a cascade of problems further down the line. I see this as part of the job: managing expectations and solving issues.”

Daniel Greenwell

Project engineer at James Purdey & Sons

Age: 27. Location: London

Bespoke shotguns and rifles may not be what you’d immediately associate with engineering, but Daniel is currently working for a sporting brand, ensuring that it implements the best and most efficient operational practices that will deliver the most value. Outside of his job, one of the achievements he says he’s most proud of is being part of a team that filed a patent for an environmentally friendly process for smoothing the surface finish of rough metal workpieces. He hopes to help the company he’s at to continually innovate by analysing emerging technologies and understanding their application within the luxury goods environment.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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